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Hardcover In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose Book

ISBN: 0151445257

ISBN13: 9780151445257

In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good*

*Best Available: (missing dust jacket)

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Book Overview

As a woman, writer, mother, and feminist, Walker explores the theories and practices of feminism, incorporating what she calls the "womanist" tradition of African american women.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

The Loss of Black Creativity Due To Slavery

In her essay concerning post-Reconstruction African-American women, Alice Walker seeks to put a human face on what Americans may otherwise only remember as an unfortunate scar on our glorious history. She asks, "Who were the Saints? These crazy, loony, pitiful women?" And in answering herself, she replies in repetition, "our mothers and grandmothers." These are the human faces to which she has attributed all that is contemporary Black America. "Moving to music not yet written," Walker's image of the former female slave is one, not necessarily of a battered laborer, nor of a heifer being kept only because of her ability to breed valuable livestock, but rather as an artist ahead of her time. These women made beauty while amidst horrible conditions. These women were not merely ex-slaves, but they were "Poets, Novelists, Essayists, and Short-Story Writers" whose potential was never met, and dreams were never realized. For this reason, Walker attempts to embolden and even mobilize African-American women with the responsibility of realizing the potential of black creativity denied their ancestors. Walker asks, "Do you have a genius of a great-great-grandmother who died under some ignorant and depraved white overseers lash?" What an amazing question to ask. How many geniuses and artists were slain by the horror of slavery? Americans spend a lot of time and energy thinking about the economic, political, and social restrictions slavery imposed on African Americans, but I have never even heard elusions to the loss of black creativity due to slavery. I too have given more thought to the socioeconomic inequality within black America than I've ever given to the stifling of their creative ability. Perhaps, we should give this idea more thought, for it was the efforts of these "poets" in everyday life that transported black women to where they are today, and have arguably elevated the intellect, creativity, and soul of an entire nation. Thought provoking; this is an essential read for anyone interested in understanding the effects of slavery, especially those effects that go beyond our typical understanding of oppression.

A great nonfiction collection

I have loved Alice Walker since I was 14. Granted, it has not always been an easy love. She speaks truths that I do not always find easy to hear. She makes statements that I have a difficult time agreeing with. At the same time, I find her writings wonderful, warm and insightful. She has a way of taking an everyday situation and making it resonate. Of special note in this book is Walker's (to me) classic essay on Flannery O'Connor. What could very easily have been a "what this author means to me" type of story, Walkers manages to tie it up with her own past, her relationships, the legacy of the South and Catholicism. It's one of my favorite essays of all time, and I am so glad to finally have my own copy to hold onto and read over and over again. This book is a good start for those who may have only read the Color Purple, but would liek to know more about Walker. Highly recommended.

A passionate and insightful essay collection

I first read "In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens," the influential essay collection by Alice Walker, as a college undergraduate more than 10 years ago. Re-reading the book was a wonderful experience that reminded me how important Walker has been to so many people. The book opens with Walker's definition of the term "womanist": "a black feminist or feminist of color." The essays in this book, which span the late 1960s, the 1970s, and the early 1980s, thus represent the development of Walker's "womanist" vision.The pieces include book reviews, letters to various publications, autobiographical pieces, and other prose selections. Many of her essays and reviews represent Walker's views on a range of literary figures: Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes, Flannery O'Connor, Phillis Wheatley, Buchi Emecheta, and many more. Particularly interesting is her essay about Rebecca Jackson, a 19th century African-American woman who joined a Shaker community. Especially important are Walker's writings about Zora Neale Hurston, whom she reclaims as a black literary foremother.Other highlights include articles about Martin Luther King and his widow Coretta Scott King, and an account of a trip to Castro's Cuba. She also includes an article about "Conditions: Five," the important collection of writings by black lesbian and straight women.Alice Walker may be best known to general audiences for her novel "The Color Purple," but "In Search..." reminds me of her skill and passion as an essayist. This is a collection which is, I believe, historically important for the academic field of women's studies. But it is not just a scholarly artifact; it is also a book that holds power and relevance that go beyond its historical moment.

As always, Alice leaves me breathless!!!!!

What can you say about Alice Walker, she, Gloria Naylor, Toni Morrison, and Maya Angelou, and Zora Neale Hurston are as far as I am concerned the only female writers that have a clue about writing about the life and experiences of everyday people. Unlike a lot of today's writers they don't resort to brand name dropping, and smut to sell books they write from the heart and from the spirit. Walker's writings as all of her work shakes you to your soul. She is a brilliant writer, with a brilliant mind, and this book just once again illustrates that to the max. This book was required reading and let me tell you it was well worth the requirement. Alice is over the top which is why many of her books are not required reading in high school, I feel it should be and would love to have a child of mine read her writings. This book was great and Alice if you are reading this, I LOVE YOU, KEEP ON WRITING AND KEEPING IT REAL AND ALIVE FOR ALL THE WOMEN OF THE WORLD WHO STRUGGLE JUST TO SURVIVE.!!!!!
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